Champagne’s extended grape family throws a party in Chavot, and they’re getting along well.
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Founded on the vision of creating a unique cuvée representative of how champagne may have tasted 300 years ago and the urge to explore Champagne’s future in the face of climate change, Les 7 was born in 2003 when Thierry Laherte and son Aurélien co-planted the seven permitted grape varieties of Champagne AOC on a single 0.4ha plot surrounding the family guesthouse in the tiny village of Chavot.
Since 2005, the grapes have been harvested, pressed and vinified together to create a field blend made in a perpetual blending style similar to the solera system of Sherry. Each year, the perpetual reserve is blended with the new vintage before it is refilled into select barriques where it is allowed to rest. The remaining wine is then bottled, resulting in a cuvée inclusive of all vintages stretching back to 2005.
The current release of Les 7 contains the eminent trio of Champagne—18% Chardonnay, 14% Pinot Noir and 18% Pinot Meunier—joined by the remaining four grape varieties—8% Arbanne, 15% Petit Meslier, 17% Pinot Blanc and 10% Fromenteau (aka Pinot Gris).
It comprises the 2005–2015 solera with 4 g/L dosage and was disgorged in January 2018.
Les 7 provides a retrospective and prospective taste of the past, present and future. Through the perpetual cuvée method, older vintages gain vicarious youth through the new vintages, and the resulting cuvée is one of complex dualities: lively yet mature; fruity yet nutty and full of spice; classic yet modern.
The aromas are fresh yet fleshy: a nashi pear core with white flowers and lemon drops, apples and dried apricots, levelling off on a vivid long finish replete with pepper, nuttiness and ginger. A solid acid drive and distinct minerality impart an elegant freshness along with the fine, delicate mousse.
The dialogue between the seven grape varieties is harmonious, like well-acquainted friends effortlessly picking things up where they last left off as though no time has passed at all.
Best enjoyed from a Lehmann Jamesse Prestige, Synergie 75 glass.
As a dynamic and complex wine, Les 7 can be enjoyed with food that matches or contrasts, such as oysters and seafood, decadent Japanese uni and spicy chicken dishes in Asian cuisine. Or simply, as Aurélien soliloquises, ‘Drink alone and it will all be okay’.